Keyboardio Model 100
Between the wooden finish, split-board design, programmable keys, and hot-swappable Kailh switches, the Keyboardio Model 100 definitely had some lofty aspirations. Luckily enough, it managed to integrate them all wonderfully, resulting in an refreshingly unorthodox peripheral that really does manage to transform the landscape of mechanical keyboards. In a great way, of course.
- Hardwood finish feels fantastic and looks stylish to boot
- Fully programmable keys and hot-swappable switches are music to the ears of customization enthusiasts
- Kailh MX-Style switches perform exceptionally well
- Really pricey
- Unconventional shape and key layout takes some getting used to
Mechanical keyboards are quickly taking over membrane models as the new mainstream, with more and more people making the switch to a more comfortable and customizable experience. Problem is, a lot of the best mechanical keyboards are built for gamers, forgoing class for a sense of edginess and flair. Even the ones crafted for typing enthusiasts tend to have a penchant for black and RGB. What about the rest of us who yearn for an ounce of sophistication? Well, that’s where the Keyboardio Model 100 comes in.
Boasting an innovative design, sleek wooden finish, and an unbridled level of customization, this peripheral seeks to flip the keyboard game on its head. But the question remains, is this device simply trying to do too much? And does it have enough innovation to lure people away from the stiff competition? That’s what we’re here to find out, in this Keyboardio Model 100 review.
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Keyboardio is a close-knit tech company devoted to conceptualizing and developing typing peripherals geared towards comfort and customizability. They stay true to their trademark catchphrase “shipped with source code and a screwdriver”, urging their customers to fiddle with their product’s hardware and software.
Their latest baby – the Keyboardio Model 100 – is a two-piece keyboard with a rustic style and offbeat curves, promising an intuitive experience and a cozy feel. Of course, you can expect this keyboard to also promote the brand’s belief in customization, with the creators encouraging you to take apart both its hardware and programming in order to truly make it your own.
Premium Hardwood Finish
You can keep all your aluminium frames, reinforced plastic panels, and rubberized wristrests. This stylish piece of work comes with a gorgeous hardwood body, treating its users to a look and feel that just can’t be beat. You even have two types of wood to choose from – maple for those who prefer a lighter shade, or walnut if you enjoy a deeper hue.
Unique Key Placement
The Keyboardio Model 100 blazes its own trail with an inventive key layout that’s focused on finger reach. No more putting your fingers in unnatural positions just to reach that next key. It’s an offshoot of the traditional QWERTY design that features a few striking improvements and is fully customizable in case you want to do your own thing.
Veering away from the conventional keycap, this keyboard features custom-designed keycaps with grooves that cater to a hand’s natural curve. Talk about comfort.
The Model 100 doesn’t skimp switch customization either, offering users a choice between three unique switch types and the ability to freely switch between them.
Individually Programmable RGB
For fans of RGB lighting, you’ll be glad to know that the Keyboardio Model 100 is not only fully RGB capable, but each of its keys has its own individually programmable LED. Want one of your keys to light up whenever you receive an email? Sure. Fancy a group of keys blinking at a Twitch notification? Why not?
Intuitive Two-Half Design
The beauty of a split keyboard is that you don’t have to force yourself to settle for a specific hand placement. You’re free to dictate the space between your hands, allowing for maximum comfort.
The Keyboardio Model 100 takes keyboard feet to the next level by introducing octo-stands, a handy little mechanism that lets you tilt the keyboard in pretty much any direction of your choosing.
To allow for even more unorthodox positioning, the Model 100 includes tripod mounts akin to the ones that cameras use. This lets you latch the device onto a variety of surfaces for some pretty interesting results.
Cop yourself the Kickstarter edition of the Model 100 and they’ll throw in a stylish carrying kit for you to keep your keyboard safe while you’re on the go.
The Keyboardio Model 100 includes robust companion software that gives you the ability to effortlessly remap your keys, create special shortcuts, develop complex macros, adjust RGB lighting, and so much more. It’s open source too, so you’re free to build upon it as you see fit.
Includes an actual Screwdriver
Keyboardio weren’t kidding with their “shipped with source code and a screwdriver” line. This guy really does come with a screwdriver in case you want to mess with the switches or other hardware. The warranty might go out the window, but that shouldn’t stop you from having your fun.
|Switches||64 x full-travel mechanical Kailh MX-style switches rated at 70 million+ presses|
|Hot-swap sockets||64 x Kailh sockets (Rated at 100 switch changes)|
|LEDs||64 individually addressable RGB LEDs|
|Rollover||Full NKRO (no ghosting)|
|Interface||USB 2.0 over USB C|
|Included cable||1.5m (5 ft) USB C to USB A|
|Compatibility||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, iPadOS (LED support may be limited on some mobile devices)|
|Key plate||anodized aluminum|
|Microcontroller||Microchip ATMEGA32U4 or better|
|Wood enclosure||Choice of walnut or maple shell|
|Dimensions||23 x 37 x 4 cm (9 x 14.5 x 1.6 in)|
|Weight||1.04 Kg (2.3 lbs)|
Build & Design
The Keyboardio Model 100 may look jarring at first – like a set of oddly shaped keys slapped onto two single-armed school desks – but there’s definitely a sense of timeless allure that comes with its polished wooden finish. Its frame is shaped kind of like a butterfly, with most of the keys being situated towards the top half of the board.
Perhaps its biggest departure from the traditional keyboard layout would be the minimization of the space bar into a regular-sized key, empowering your thumb to do more than create gaps between letters. The keycaps themselves feature uneven grooves that were specifically engineered to fit the shape of our hands. We’re not going to lie, there’s a bit of a learning curve before it becomes second nature, but once you’re used to it you’ll never see a traditional keyboard in the same way again.
The keyboard itself is a mix of hardwood and anodized aluminum, giving it a satisfyingly weighty feel and sturdy overall build. Its Kailh MX-style switches can easily rival the industry favourite Cherry ones and there are three distinct variants to choose from depending on what suits your tastes. While you probably won’t be smashing its keycaps anytime soon, this keyboard can handle its fair share of impacts without worry.
Make no mistake, the Keyboardio Model 100 sits squarely in the premium keyboard department, offering excellent Kailh MX-style switches that can go head to head with the best in the business. Its design takes some getting used to in the beginning but the keyboard eventually makes good on its promise of providing users with a comfortable typing experience unlike any other. The octo-stands have a lot to do with that, allowing you to position the device in virtually any angle that you deem comfortable.
For all the tinkers heads out there, the Model 100 is one of the most customizable keyboards around, with the creators encouraging users to take the peripheral apart and mess around with both the accessible hardware and open-source software. Be warned, however. The Keyboardio Model 100 doesn’t come cheap. But then again, who really expected a two-part, fully programmable, hot-swappable mechanical keyboard to be affordable in the first place.